How early should my child get braces?

Many parents are not sure when their children will need to get braces. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends bringing your child to see an orthodontist such as Dr. Leo Toureno as young as seven (7) years old. Why the magic number 7 years of age? Usually, the permanent molars or the six-year molars would have erupted. Several of the front teeth incisors would also be in the mouth by now. Any major issues such as crossbite, underbite, open bite, or impacted teeth can be assessed properly at this time and corrective measures taken if needed.

Dr. Leo takes your child's orthodontic care seriously and will therefore often start by recommending simple, non-invasive techniques to help correct certain issues such as open bite due to a thumb or finger sucking habits. Many times, these simple techniques will encourage your child to stop their habits. Appliances such as thumb cribs, rakes, or rollers can be fabricated when simpler more cost effective techniques do not work.

Early orthodontic treatment is also known as Phase I Orthodontic Treatment. Phase I Orthodontic Treatment is usually 12 to 18 months in duration, and the objectives of treatment are limited to the major issues being addressed, such as crossbite, underbite, open bite, or impacted teeth. Alignment of teeth may be addressed as well, but not always.

Once the Phase I objectives are accomplished, braces and appliances are usually removed and we will begin to monitor his or her development until their permanent teeth erupt. This is when Phase II orthodontic treatment may begin.

If your young child has no major issues such as crossbite, underbite, open bite, or impacted teeth, Dr. Leo may monitor their development until they are old enough to get orthodontic treatment. In general, this may be 10 years of age for some and 14 years of age for others. Your child may be ready for braces when the last two baby or primary teeth are loose.

You may not want to wait too long because there are many reasons why orthodontic treatment at the right time may mean a difference in your child's results.